Feeling low in energy is a common symptom experienced by many people living with stroke, traumatic brain injury and other neurological diagnoses.
Fatigue can seriously impact on your recovery goals and what you are able to do in your day-to-day life.
Fatigue can have several underlying causes. It may be related to your neurological condition, or it may be linked to other physical or emotional factors such as unsettled sleep, inactivity and loss of fitness, or low mood.
Feeling constantly tired is quite common when you have a neurological illness or injury, but there are some things that you can do to help manage your energy levels.
Here are Top 5 Tips to help you, when you’re struggling with low energy
1. Keep a diary
This can help you pinpoint which activities reduce your energy levels (e.g. therapy sessions, household chores) and which activities improve your energy levels (e.g. relaxing with music, socialising).
Aim to achieve a balance of both within a day. A diary can also help you work out when you have more energy, for example in the morning.
2. Make a Plan
Once you know how much you can do in a day, and when you feel most energised, you can plan out your day or week.
Use a diary or a wall calendar to help you. Aim to spread activity evenly across the week.
This might involve breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps (e.g. vacuuming one or two rooms per day rather than tackling the whole house in one go).
3. Stay active
Regular physical activity can help to improve your energy levels,
so try to incorporate some exercise into your day, but don’t overexert yourself.
You could try a short walk, a few minutes on an exercise bike or a chair-based workout.
We Are Undefeatablehas some great ideas to help you find activities that work for you.
4. Pace yourself
It’s important to balance activities which drain your energy with activities which ‘recharge your batteries’ plus proper breaks.
If you feel exhausted, then it’s okay to sit down or to take a short nap of up to 30 minutes; taking longer naps may impact on your sleep at night.
This might mean you are not able to do all the things you’d like to, but over time you can build up your stamina.
5. Eat a balanced diet
The food we eat can either cause our energy levels to peak and dip throughout the day or keep our energy on a more even keel.
Reducing foods high in sugar and refined (white) carbohydrates will help avoid the highs and lows of the ‘energy rollercoaster’, whereas eating a balance of fruits and vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates, lean protein plus some healthy fats will help to maintain steady energy levels throughout the day.
Seeking support can also help you to manage your fatigue, improve your energy and achieve your recovery goals. Talking to your family and friends can help them try and understand your situation and support you.
You could also download Hannah’s free PDF guide where she shares 7 expert tips to help overcome tiredness and improve energy, or contact Hannah for a free 15-minute telephone consultation to have your questions answered and see if she can help you find a way forward.
Hannah Rushton Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach
About Hannah Rushton
Hannah Rushton is a Level 4 qualified nutrition and lifestyle coach, with extensive experience of working with people who have had a stroke. She has a background in the health charity sector and has worked exclusively with stroke survivors for the past twelve years where she has amassed a thorough knowledge of the challenges facing individuals in reaching their recovery goals following an acute neurological health event.
Hannah specialises in supporting her clients to live a healthy and active life by translating the science of nutrition and wellbeing and making it relevant and easy to apply in everyday life. Just some of the benefits of nutrition and lifestyle coaching reported by her clients include improved weight management, increased energy levels, improved motivation, reduced stress, and anxiety, and feeling more in control of their own health.
Hannah is passionate about the benefits of diet and lifestyle in helping people with neurological conditions achieve their rehabilitation goals and considers it the “missing piece of the jigsaw”.
An Occupational Therapist can assist you to develop fatigue management strategies to include self-care, budgeting your energy,
and offer practical advice relating to your home environment and participation in everyday activities.
If you’re looking for an Occupational Therapist in Leicestershire to offer advice or support with fatigue management.
Please telephone on 07341265564 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the contact form here.
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Leicestershire, East Midlands